Smart Toll plazas
Long queues, struggles to tender exact change and frayed tempers are soon going to be things of the past when getting in and out of the 158-km eight-lane Nehru Outer Ring Road with authorities getting ready to roll out FASTags and smart cards to facilitate smoother entry and exits at toll gates.
Hyderabad Growth Corridor Region Limited (HCGL), the special purpose vehicle of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), which constructed and maintains ORR, has decided to go for FASTag Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system as it is inter-operable with national highway networks.
ICICI Bank is the facilitating partner bank which will be offering FASTags at Nanakaramguda, Shamshabad, Pedda Amberpet (Vijaywada exit) toll plazas to begin with. Vehicle owners have to furnish copies of RC, address proof and any other identity proof for a minimum purchase of ₹200 for a car.
“Security deposit has been waived off for the first two lakh cars, small vans and jeeps. The bank is also offering personal accident insurance for commuters converting to monthly pass through smart cards in the first month of ETC operations,” says ORR Project Director B. Harinatha Reddy.
About one lakh vehicles use ORR daily and as per calculation, 20 seconds is spent by each vehicle at toll gates due to manual payments, leading to queues.
With ETC, total cumulative time savings per day is to be about 56 hours to begin with and could go up to 250-300 hours per day once more people use it, he explains.
HGCL and HMDA Commissioner B. Janardhan Reddy has held extensive meetings with stakeholders concerned in the past few days to fine tune the ETC system. It was decided to have 18 lanes dedicated to ETC with FASTags; 51 hybrid — a combination of both manual and ETC transactions — while 112 of the 181 lanes will be manual, and 82 entry and 99 exits. Touch-and-go smart card readers are to be available on all lanes.
‘Few may opt’
Opting for FASTag also means jettisoning Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) ETC system as it does not have the inter-operability with other such systems in the country which would make few would opt for it, points out Mr. Reddy.
However, it also heralds the end of ‘closed tolling’ which means toll collected is only to the extent of distance travelled on the road concerned whereas in FASTag of national highways, it is ‘open tolling’ where a vehicle is charged for being on the road till the next toll plaza.
Meanwhile, HMDA Commissioner has appealed to commuters to tender exact amount to cut short the time taken in tolling and to opt for ETC and smart card-based payments when they are introduced early next month.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from The Hindu.)
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